BOSTON — Joan Lovely stood at the left hand of Gov. Deval Patrick to be sworn in as the new senator from the 2nd Essex District yesterday in the ornate Senate chamber.
Prior to the ceremony, a nervous Lovely recalled the thousands of doors she knocked on in order to have this one open up for her.
“I’m just absolutely thrilled,” she said.
And when someone asked, “Butterflies gone yet?” she replied, “No, they’ve got worse.”
She didn’t show it as Lovely confidently — and temporarily — sat in the seat adjacent to the president’s podium, one previously reserved for her predecessor, retired Majority Leader Fred Berry. She becomes the first person other than Berry to hold the post in 30 years.
Cheers followed the oath-taking, and Lovely offered a triumphant “thumbs-up” to her former Salem City Council colleagues, most of whom were in the upstairs gallery. Moments later, she took her first vote, joining colleagues in retaining Senate President Therese Murray as leader of the 188th Massachusetts Senate.
A large contingent of the Lovely family watched from the floor, including husband Stephen; children Jenna, Stephen and Taylor; sisters Jackie Lamb and Susan Douglass; and cousin Deb Greel.
“I’m so incredibly proud of her,” Douglass said, her voice breaking. “I just get filled up with emotion when I think if it. Joan has worked incredibly hard. ... I only wish our parents were here.” Joseph and Joan (Geary) Boeggeman have passed away.
Mayors Bill Scanlon of Beverly, Lovely’s original hometown, and Kim Driscoll of Salem attended, as well.
“(Lovely) does have a difficult task filling Freddy Berry’s shoes,” Scanlon said. “But I think she’s going to do a hell of a good job. We want to see her get off to a good start.”
“It’s very exciting to be here to see Joan sworn in,” said Driscoll, who served with Lovely on the City Council. “I look forward to working with her.”